Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Eli McLaughlin scored the game-winning goal with 1.8 seconds left in the game as the Colorado Mammoth upset the San Diego Seals 13-12 in the West Division semifinals.
The game ended in some controversy. San Diego didn’t take a penalty all game, but with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter Drew Belgrade was called for holding which led to the game-winning goal.
This game also came down to goaltending. Dillon Ward was once again spectacular. He stopped 52 of 64 shots in the win. Meanwhile on the other side of the floor, Frank Scigliano stopped 32 of 45 shots in the loss.
In downing the first overall seed in the West, the Mammoth now face Calgary in the West Final. Game 1 goes Thursday, May 11 in Colorado followed by Game 2 in Calgary on Saturday, May 13. If needed, Game 3 goes on Saturday, May 20 in Calgary.
Colorado takes the early edge
Jordan Gilles opened up the scoring 4:08 into the first quarter. He took a long outlet pass from Ward and buried it to make it 1-0.
Chris Ward would then take a feed from Ryan Lee and made no mistake just over a minute later to extend the Mammoth’s early lead.
Dane Dobbie finally got the Seals on the board with 4:22 left to play. Dobbie dived across the crease to put the ball passed Ward to make it 2-1.
Only 50 seconds later, Eli McLaughlin would find the back of the net from long distance to make the score 3-1 after the first quarter.
Dominant first half for the Mammoth
Zed Williams gave the Mammoth a three-goal lead after he cut to the net 5:37 into the second quarter.
Lee would cap off a three-goal run for the Mammoth to make it 5-1 before Curtis Dickson’s diving twister at 6:42 would get the Seals back within three.
Just over a minute later, McLaughlin found the back of the net to put Colorado back up by four.
With 46 left on the clock, Lee made it 7-2, but “The Big Cat” Kevin Crowley added a power play marker with nine seconds on the clock to make it 7-3 at the half.
Seals chip away at the lead
A few minutes into the third period, Austin Staats and Dane Dobbie worked the two-man game with Staats finishing with a dive across the crease to make the score 7-4.
Curtis Dickson fed Wes Berg 50 seconds later to cap a three-goal from for the Seals as they continued to chip away at Colorado’s lead 7-5.
Faceoff specialist Tim Edwards scored on transition 51 seconds later to restore Colorado’s three-goal lead.
Midway through the third, Crowley was found wide open just outside the crease to get the Seals back within one. However, a couple of quick goals by Lee and Williams put Colorado up by four.
A diving Mac O’Keefe got San Diego back on the board to make it 10-7 for the Mammoth heading into the final frame.
Eli McLaughlin the hero for the Mammoth
Staats opened the fourth-quarter scoring 2:05 into the frame, taking a feed from Berg. Lee replied right back 1:53 later as the Mammoth still led 11-8.
Penalty troubles for Colorado and a three-goal run by the Seals midway through the fourth quarter suddenly made this a close game.
With Evan Downey in the box for roughing, Berg scored on the power play with 10:31 to play to narrow the score to 11-9.
Shortly after that, Warren Jeffrey took a cross-checking call and Staats scored 15 seconds into the power play to make it a one-goal game.
Mac O’Keefe beat Ward 1:54 later to round at the three-goal run to tie up the game 11-11 and put the number one team in the West back in the game.
With less than five minutes to go in the game, McLaughlin scored his hat trick goal to put the Mammoth ahead 12-11.
Crowley then spun some magic. With 3:16 left on the clock, he picked up his own rebound and buried a behind-the-back shot for a highlight reel goal to tie up the game once again.
With 30 seconds left, Belgrave got tied up with a couple of Colorado forwards near his defensive zone restraining line and ended up taking San Diego’s first penalty of the game at a crucial time.
McLaughlin would beat Scigliano on the man advantage with 1.8 seconds left for the game-winner.
Ryan Lee, 4g 5a
Eli McLaughlin, 4g 3a
Zed Williams, 2g 3a
San Diego Seals
Curtis Dickson, 1g 5a
Dane Dobbie, 1g 4a
Austin Staats, 3g 1a
Wes Berg, 2g 2a